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It's been a difficult few weeks for fossil fuel spin doctors, especially those at ExxonMobil and the office of Environment Minister, Sussan Ley.

Let's look at how they tried to wiggle their way out of responsibility for their climate vandalism.

This week we're fired up about:

Thanks to my supporters. Please join them and sponsor Fired Up and the volunteers at Comms Declare via Patreon!


You wouldn't want to be Sussan Ley's media manager. Straight from denying she has a duty to protect children's futures and using an extremely rare law to knock back a major renewables investment, now it appears she will preside over our precious Great Barrier Reef being officially declared 'in danger'.

The draft recommendation by Unesco that the GBR is in danger because of climate change and poor water quality has been widely praised by experts. But instead of accepting that Australia needs to make more ambitious emissions cuts, the Environment Minister issued this media release with a raft of tactics any screaming toddler would be proud of.

In fact, she did everything but deny the Reef is in danger.

"...stunned by a back flip on previous assurances..."

"The draft decision had been made on the basis of a desk top review with insufficient first-hand appreciation..."

"In a call to the Director General of UNESCO... I expressed Australia’s dissatisfaction with the process."

"... it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best managed reef in the world."

"...we will contest this flawed approach..."

Sussan Ley has issued 57 media releases about the Reef since she became Environment Minister. Of those, 12 mentioned climate change - the Reef's biggest threat. Only two talked of the need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution - although in carefully couched terms that absolved Australia of any additional responsibility. Patreon subscribers can see the list here.
If Unesco does declare the GBR in danger, it means Australia would need to take stronger controls on water quality and greenhouse gas pollution. 

The Australian responded with the usual culture-war angles.

They claimed the ruling was 'political' because China is chair of the World Heritage Committee. Their only source for this was Liberal Senator, James Patterson.

Then there was this bizarre cartoon and an editorial claiming  that new water quality and climate measures would be an "unacceptable intrusion into what are properly sovereign decisions and rights." 

Add to this two articles where Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Sussan Ley get to repeat - largely unchallenged - their claims against Unesco and a bonus Sussan Ley opinion article.

And to top it off, an opinion from IPA-and-industry-funded, sacked academic Peter Ridd, stating that the Reef isn't in danger anyway because all scientists are wrong.
Greenpeace Unearthed secretly recorded a former and current member of ExxonMobil's U.S. government relations team talking about their work.

The videos reveal that the company:
  • tried to undermine Biden's climate initiatives
  • pretended to support a carbon price while fighting it
  • fought restrictions on toxic 'forever' chemicals
  • tried to head off restrictions on plastic and recycling
  • successfully stopped company taxes
In response, Exxon went to the crisis handbook and released a short statement from the CEO, that showed regret but wasn't an actual apology, followed by a longer position statement on climate. Here's some of the devices they deployed.

“Comments made by the individuals in no way represent the company’s position on a variety of issues."

"Our scientists are working to develop innovative solutions to help reduce emissions..."

"The individuals interviewed were never involved in developing the company’s policy positions..."

"..deeply apologetic.."

"We have great respect for policy makers, elected officials and organizations across the political spectrum..."

"We are actively working to reduce our own emissions..."
(The company is only planning to reduce emissions intensity - not overall emissions)

In Australia, ExxonMobil owns Exxon, Mobil oils and Esso and has not paid tax since 2013. 

It has a share in the country's biggest resource project, Gorgon.

ExxonMobil's global ad agency is BBDO.
Support Climate Communications

1. Jeff Berardelli (@weatherprof) on CBS for doing a better job explaining climate change and weather than 99% of Australian politicians.

2. Foundation Earth for the trial of traffic light sustainability ratings on food labels.

3. @queersatanic for the best meme of the US and Canada heatwave.
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